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UVa coach Mike London said Phillip Sims had not followed rules about class attendance.
ASSOCIATED PRESS | File 2012
Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims (14) steps into the end zone for a score as Miami defensive back Ladarius Gunter (37) tries to make the stop in Charlottesville.
Associated Press | File 2012
Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims has been ruled academically ineligible to play in the coming season.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Virginia football coach Mike London was at a speaking engagement in Roanoke on Thursday night when he told a group of UVa supporters that he hoped the Cavaliers' quarterback situation would be resolved "very soon."
Even London didn't know how soon Virginia would be making an announcement.
Shortly after 10 a.m. Friday, UVa sent out a release with the news that quarterback Phillip Sims is academically ineligible for the 2013 season, apparently following an appeal earlier in the day.
Sims passed for 1,263 yards and nine touchdowns last year while sharing time with Michael Rocco, who requested a release from his scholarship at the end of the 2012 season and subsequently transferred to Richmond.
Sims' ineligibility leaves the Cavaliers without a quarterback who attempted a pass last season, although Sims was UVa's No. 3 quarterback behind sophomore David Watford and redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert at the completion of spring drills.
"We tell the young men ... go to class, show class and treat people with dignity and respect," London said in a prepared statement. "Those directions are pretty easy to follow and they will lead you on a path of success.
"When an individual strays from those directions, it is very disappointing to me. Phillip Sims did not make the commitment he needed to succeed there."
Sims was rated the No. 1 prospect in the state by The Roanoke Times following his senior year at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake. At least one recruiting service, SuperPrep, rated him the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country before he signed with the University of Alabama.
Sims was redshirted by the Crimson Tide in 2010 and backed up A.J. McCarron on Alabama's national-championship team in 2011.
He transferred to Virginia after going through spring practice with the Crimson Tide in 2012.
Later that summer, the NCAA granted his appeal for immediate eligibility based on the illness of a family member. He would have been a redshirt junior this coming season.
Sims has been attending class during Virginia's May term and will be allowed to complete the current session, which ends next week, Virginia disclosed in a second release.
"I wana thank everyone for their well wishes & support," Sims wrote in a Twitter post Friday afternoon. "This is another setback that I must take on & overcome."
In a second tweet, he added, "This is definitely not the end but sometimes you have to get knocked down to get back up & reach your dreams. I will be back. I promise that."
Support came from the likes of first-round NFL Draft pick Kyle Long, a Charlottesville product who originally enrolled at Florida State for baseball, went to junior college to play football and ended up at Oregon.
"I've been in your shoes and made it out the other side," Long tweeted. "Keep faith and work work work, Ill be watchin."
McCarron tweeted, "My brother [Sims] will be back. He made me the player I am by pushing me."
Sims' transfer to Virginia reunited him with a pair of former Oscar Smith teammates, running back Perry Jones and wide receiver Tim Smith.
The news of Sims' precarious 2013 availability had not been a secret.
"The last I knew, he was still third on the depth chart," Oscar Smith coach Rich Morgan said at mid week. "I'm not sure what's happening about all that. You know, I'm not there. I've got my own team to coach. I've got my own decision to make, so I'm not getting into what other people do."
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